George & Wendy Show

Wendy Parker

The perfect gift, from an unexpected place

| December 16, 2012

There’s no escaping the holidays. Even on the road, constant reminders that Christmas is almost upon us are plenty. I’m no Grinch. In fact, I love Christmas, but I’m just as guilty as anyone else of forgetting what the season is supposed to be about. I spend a lot of time worrying about who’s getting what gift and whether or not we’ll be able to schedule home time around all the family events. I fret over the 10 pounds I’m definitely going to gain, and wonder how we’re going to pay for it all. I rarely take time to reflect, and think about what’s really important, because this time of year is so insanely busy.

I was in the store yesterday, trying to decide if my brother really needs another Ohio State t-shirt, when a little old man walked up to me.

“Miss? I hate to bother you, but I need a little help here.”

(Let me insert that I was a geriatric care nurse when I had a real job, and I have an extremely soft spot for little old people.)

“No bother at all. What can I help you with?”

He was holding two bottles of dish washing liquid, one for the sink and one for the dishwasher. He looked so sad and confused, I immediately wanted to hug him and bless his heart.

“Well, I just don’t know which one of these to buy. You see, my wife of 56 years died last month. She did all the shopping for us, and I guess I never really paid too much attention to what she got. I’m plumb out of everything, and I just don’t know what in the world to buy.”

There are moments in life when you know everything you think is important is about to change. Things slow down for a minute, you listen with your heart and soul, and you pray to come away whole. This was one of those moments.

“Well, let’s see. Do you have a dishwasher, or do you do the dishes in the sink?”

His eyes filled with tears and it was all I could do not to burst into tears myself.

“I had a dishwasher for 56 years. She was the finest woman on this earth, took good care of me and our kids. You never really know what you have until it’s gone. I don’t understand these young people today, they get married for a minute and throw it all away like trash. I tell ya’, you just don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone. I married my wife to be with her forever, and I sure didn’t think she’d go first.”

I put the stupid t-shirt down. I took his cart and started walking with him.

“Do you have a list of things you need? I can help you get the basics, I’m pretty good with cleaning house.”

We walked through the store and talked some more about his wife. I helped him get the things he needed, gave him some tips on using the dishwasher. I asked him if he had family close or a church.

“I got kids and grandkids. They’re all good to me, but no one can fill the place that’s empty now. I got a good preacher, and I love the Lord, but I’m a little too mad at him right now to go to church.”

I completely understood what he was saying. My Daddy died when he was a young man of 46 years old, and I spent quite a few years being mad at the Lord for it.

We finished shopping. I gave him a hug and wished him well.

“Ma’am, you don’t know what it means to me to have a stranger care a little. I appreciate your kindness.”

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  • Gordon Alkire

    Wendy, Your one of Gods gifts. Thank you. strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions. Click here to read our comment policy.